Mary Katrantzou – seeing is disbelieving

Mary Katrantzou Model Kristy Kaurova

Model Kristy Kaurova

Mary Katrantzou Model Renee Germaine van Seggem

Model Renee Germaine van Seggem

I have blogged before about Fashion as Art which I consider it is – the Haute Couture of Alexander McQueen and Rodarte being but two obvious examples. I had never considered the cross-over of fashion and architecture.

Certainly fashion can be architectural in terms of its structure, but Greek Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou utilizes interior and exterior décor for the actual design prints of her collections.

She has been showing collections since 2009 and not Haute Couture either but Ready To Wear – if perhaps a brave Ready to Wear with for example her Spring 2011 collection being about ‘the room on the woman’ rather than ‘the woman in the room’! This collection took its inspiration from back-copies of Architectural Digest and World of Interiors where images from them were laid over exquisitely fitted silhouettes.

She gives as her design heroes Coco Chanel, Miuccia Prada and Balenciaga, however even this illustrious triumvirate of design genius won’t prepare you for her own creative collections.

You can see the collection on the London Fashion Week website if in a disappointing grainy stream rather than High Def Video. The clothes are modelled on the runway to the sound of the ‘Polonaise’ by Japanese musician and composer Shigeru Umebayashi – you might know him from film scores such as House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower – his music adding to the exotic things-not-being-quite-what-they seem feel of it all.

Mary Katrantzou Model Ming Xii

Model Ming Xi

The pictures in this post are taken from her Spring 2011 collection – each collection though is worth checking out in great detail as a pure visual and creative feast. And of the collection featured here, with 26 pieces in all, the difficulty was what to leave out – you can see the entire collection though on Style.

Mary Katrantzou Model Karolina Mikolajczyk

Model Karolina Mikolajczyk

Some of her designs play visual tricks on the eye – a model is wearing a necklace but is it a plain necklace with the brass fixtures part of the print on on her top, or is the brass fixture her actual necklace – 2D or 3D that is the question!

The prints themselves may run the entire length of the dress or be two different prints, one for the bodice area, one for the skirt area. I could provide descriptions but these though are pieces best seen for yourselves to make your own mind up about what it is you are seeing, what it is you think you are seeing.

On the London Fashion Week site there is a profile q&a with her – currently she has no website – or rather one under construction (and which you can download a pressbook which is well worth doing so presenting as it does her work to date in the printed fashion press in pictures and words) – and on the question of what is next for her brand she answers ‘a new website’.

I cannot wait for what is sure to be a website not quite what it seems.

Mary Katrantzou Model Olga Cerpeta

Model Olga Cerpeta

Mary Katrantzou Model Charlotte Wiggins

Model Charlotte Wiggins

British Fashion Council – NEWGEN winners for spring/summer 2012

The British Fashion Council have announced June 7 at London’s Somerset House on The Strand the latest recipients of the New Generation (NEWGEN) awards – 17 in all. My All Walks Beyond the Catwalk post noted their sponsorship of that campaign and now this awards announcement set up to showcase and promote new designer businesses.

Previous award recipients have included Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Julien MacDonald and Christopher Kane among many others – an impressive roll-call and proof that the NEWGEN endorsement is a very significant accolade.

The full list of this year’s winners can be seen on their website here. The awards are divided into four areas – Catwalk, Presentation, Installation and Exhibition. All categories except Exhibition will feature at London Fashion Week September 2011.

Holly Fulton Fall 2011 RTW

Holly Fulton Fall 2011 RTW

Louise Gray Fall 2011 RTW

Louise Gray Fall 2011 RTW

I was pleased to see Scotland well represented with two of the four Catwalk nominations going to Holly Fulton from Edinburgh and Louise Gray from Fraserburgh.

Holly Fulton describes her design signatures as ‘Graphic print, luxurious materials and hot accessories’ and the Holly Fulton woman ‘as someone who knows what she likes’.

Louise Gray describes her design signatures as ‘Colour, textures, hand silk screened, specially developed fabrics in woven, embroidered and printed techniques’ and the Louise Gray woman ‘as someone who is ultimately fun’.

Felicity Brown mentioned in the Derby Hats post was made recipient of one of the Exhibition Sponsorships – noting her design heroes as ‘Nicolas Ghesquière and Madeline Gres’.

I look forward the London Fashion Week showcasing of their works and the other exhibitions this award sponsors.

Fashion Fringe Finalists Revealed

Fyodor Golan

Nabil El Nayal

Fyodor Golan, Heidi Leung and Nabil El Nayal are the favoured three by the judges Claudia Schiffer and Roland Mouret.

The finalists will now spend June, July and August working on their Fashion Fringe Collections which will be showcased at September’s London Fashion Week.

They will also receive a two-year development package to set up and sustain their business; which includes a mixture of cash, business advice, mentoring and a fully equipped studio at Somerset House.

Fashion Fringe have a stated manifesto of:

The Vitality and Energy of London, Great Britain
The Uniqueness of British Design Talent
The Necessity for Extreme Creativity
Total Modernity
A Commitment to the Future of British Fashion

The finalists works can be viewed online.

Fyodor Golan have a website where their collections can be seen as stills or videos. Their pieces can also be bought though not in a very customer friendly way. You could visit their stockist – if you should live in Hong Kong.

Heidi Leung

Nabil El Nayal have a website too but which consists only of a brief YouTube hosted video of her work and a link to her stockist, none other than Harrods. Instead her works can better be viewed on the Catwalking website where a full collection of this Royal College of Art MA Graduate can be seen.



Heidi Leung has no website that I could find. Some photos of her work can be found on the Trendstop Blog and the Fashion Fringe website itself provides some sketches of her pieces.

Fashion Fringe are providing a fine prize for the winner of this annual event and delivering a tangible investment in Britain’s emerging Fashion talent.